The kids were all tucked in bed. My hubby and I were in our room, talking about our day. I excitedly told him about how well our two oldest boys were doing in homeschool. They were understanding what was being taught, they were excelling actually, and they were enjoying school instead of fighting it. I remember looking at him and saying, “I think I have this homeschool thing down pretty good. I’m proud of how much our kids know and it excites me to think that I was able to teach it to them.”
He’s always been super supportive of me, and replied with his usual, “I knew you could do it” answers. Our discussion of all the benefits of homeschooling continued a little longer and then we went to bed.
The next day I went over to a fellow homeschool mom’s house to check out a curriculum she had been using that year, to see if it would be a good fit for our family.
I walked into her house and saw a pretty dang awesome homeschool room. Complete with computers, shelves, notebooks, desks, a massive whiteboard, and all kinds of “fun” school decor on the walls.
(photo found HERE)
We talked about how she conducted homeschool and little by little, the ray of happiness that I had created the night before got smaller and smaller and diminished more with each passing moment.
Thoughts started bombarding me and they were not good ones either.
“I don’t play fun games every Friday.”
“I don’t have an alphabet tree.”
“My kids don’t know all of the Presidents of the United States.”
“My homeschool room doesn’t look like this.” (Shoot, I don’t even have an official homeschool room. We do it at the dining room table because that’s the only space we have available for it.)
“If I were more like her, maybe my kids would have even more fun in homeschool.”
Negative thought after negative thought was hitting me with such force, I suddenly couldn’t wait to get back home and lock myself in my room and have a pity party.
As I drove home I was thinking about how I had felt the night before. How excited and proud I was of our accomplishments during this first full year of homeschool.
Why did I feel so completely different now, then I had just 24 hours earlier?
Then it hit me.
It all came down to that one word.
I had started comparing her life to mine and in the process, that joy that I had felt the night before, was gone.
Theodore Roosevelt had it right when he said,
Seriously. As soon as I started comparing myself, the joy was gone.
C’mon. You’ve done it too right?
You’ve compared your clothes, your house, your car, your kids and even your eyebrows to someone else’s. And when you’re done comparing, you walk away feeling like a nobody. You end up feeling like what you do, no matter what it is, it just isn’t quite as good as what someone else can do.
We may feel this way at times, but guess what?
That is NOT how it is supposed to be.
As this realization sunk in, I found that I had a decision to make.
1) I could go in my room and feel sorry for myself or 2) I could get over it and move forward and feel joy again.
I chose option 2.
I chose to feel joy.
But it wasn’t going to happen with the snap of my fingers. I was going to have to work on it. So I did, right away.
Since the issues I was facing had to do with homeschooling, I decided to start writing down all the things I had to offer my kids, by being their teacher. I wrote down the big and little goals we reached, the fun times we had, and the times when I wanted to give up or yell, but I didn’t.
In the midst of that exercise, I was reminded of something else that I’ve known my entire life, but sometimes have a hard time remembering.
I am like no one else.
And I am not supposed to be. Otherwise, God would have created other people exactly like me. Even identical twins are different. They may look pretty much the same, but God made them have different talents, personalities, dreams, and abilities.
I am my kids’ teacher for a reason. Not anyone else. He entrusted me with this task. Seriously, he did. It took me a year and a half for me to admit it and come to terms with it, but it’s true. (I’ll go into that story another time, stay tuned) If He wanted my kids taught the way my friend taught her kids, the He’d have her do it. But He called ME to do it.
It’s the same thing with you. You are your child’s mother for a reason. Whether you gave birth to or adopted your child, you are the mother for a reason. No one can be a mother to your child, quite like you can and God knew that, so he sent them to YOU.
Photo Credit: Cat Hansen Photography
Another thing I want and need to remember is that most of the time, we are comparing our worst to someone else’s best. We don’t see their day to day moments of when they’ve felt like they are failing. Most likely, they are looking at you and comparing themselves to you and going through the motions of that same negative self-talk.
So next time you find yourself comparing the kind of mom you are, to the kind of mom your friend is. I want you to do one thing…
Let her be an amazing mom.
But let yourself be amazing too.